The following has spoilers for season 4. Do NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT
SEEN THE LAST FOUR EPISODES OF SEASON 4!!!!
by Noelle Hay
Part 1 of lots…
"What?" Ellen asked her supervisor in amazement. "EarthGov Intelligence
Agency is making an alliance? Isn't this something for the Diplomatic
Office to handle?"
"Your job is to do your assignment Agent Hatch, and not to tell me EGIA's place," her supervisor said. He was a stern looking older gentleman whose temples had grayed and wrinkled. "Your job will be three fold. One, form an alliance with the Interstellar Alliance and see what information about the Psi Corps they would be willing to "share" with us. If you explain to President Sheridan the situation with the Corps, EGIA is fairly certain that he will co operate in the best interests of the Earth. Second, you are to gather information on Edgar's Industries. We have reason to believe that they involved in several shady deals, including connections with the Mars Mafia (with whom you've had dealings with before). We also have reason to believe that Edgar's Industries is involved in developing biological weapons. We aren't sure why, or who for, but we suspect it may involve the Corps. Approach Edgar's widow, Lise Edgar's and assess what she knows. If you think she would be willing to cooperate with us, try to work with her to uncover these operations. Intelligence indicates that she knows little if anything about her late husbands dealings. Third, you are to gather intelligence on one Michael Garibaldi."
"Michael?" she blurted, wishing she could somehow breath the name back in. She knew X was trained to observe and exploit little details like the one she had just given away. With that name spoken aloud, she remembered the yearly birthday cards she had sent him, and the letters she had composed, but never sent. She had meant to send them, in the vain hope that perhaps he would send one back. But to send those letters would be admitting she was not in control. She had to chose between the man she loved and being in control. What a piss poor choice I made, she berated herself. I chose, and now I'm lonely.
"Yes, you had prior contact with him on your first off-world assignment."
Ellen nodded numbly. She remembered, though it was something she had tried to forget for several years. It was almost ten years ago to the day that she been sent with another operative to investigate a shady ice mining company on Europa. I was only her second assignment, her first off-world. She had easily nfiltrated as one of the employees, and when trying to put evidence together actually had to work around the only honest man in the entire operation; a young security guard by the name of Michael Garibaldi. The more she learned, the closer she became to him.
He was a hardworking no nonsense sort of guy. Sure he had his troubles in the past, but she attributed that to the war. The war had changed many people. Ellen loved Michael. She loved his sarcastic humor. He made her laugh, and that was something she hadn't done much of since before the war.
With the brotherly influence of Frank Kemmer, Michael was the man she had always dreamed of finding.
"We know Michael Garibaldi was working for Edgar's Inc," X was saying. Ellen focused on X once more. "He had a good record on Babylon 5, still, we can't be sure if he is a force for good or ill in this Edgar's matter. You will find that out for us. Use your telepathic abilities if you have to. We need this information found and any means you need to use; you are given a go. Just find it."
Find it. She had allowed Michael to "find" evidence to blow open the operation on Europa. It seemed to serve EIA (EarthGov Intelligence Agency) motis operandi. But maybe she shouldn't have involved him. It seemed a shame to waste all the work he had done on his own, so she began to work with him, leaking what information she thought she could to him. Then all hell broke loose. A Jovian Moon Run pilot was killed, and Michael was framed for the murder. Since it was discovered that the other EGIA agent had been "compromised" the EGIA pulled her out, immediately, afraid to loose what information she had gathered.
She should have left without a word, but she felt she had to explain to Michael, and promise him to find the agent who had set him up. In a way, she knew, her relationship with Garibaldi had saved his life. The other EGIA agent, knowing that Ellen cared for Garibaldi could not afford to have her on his tail, and instead of killing him, framed him for Kemmers murder. It wasn't much as reassurances go, but she had resolved to correct this situation.
When Ellen went to say goodbye to Garibaldi, her heart felt like it had been ripped apart. Maybe he would ask her to stay, she hoped. But when she went to see him, he was drunk.
"Why didn' you slthay you were a sthpy Elli?" he slurred.
Ellen shocked at not only seeing Michael drunk, but at hearing that he knew she was undercover.
"Did you think... I would'n fithgure it out?" he asked, his voice rising with his anger. "Did you thhhink I was too sssthupid?"
Ellen had been momentarily stunned to hear that he had known. "I couldn't risk telling you."
"You lied to me?!" he almost shouted.
Ellen's heart pounded a warning in her chest. This was for real. She could sense it. His surface thoughts were angry and red. She used her training to clam herself. She listened to her breathing and slowed it. She focused on relaxing the muscles in her face. She relaxed her jaw, which had been clenched, then her cheeks, her eyes, and her forehead.
Control. She must have control.
"You used me to get that information!" Garibaldi said taking another huge drink of the Jovian Brandy in his hands."You lied to me, you used me, and you let Frank get killed. Hell, for all I know you sthhet it up!"
"You know if I didn't Michael. He was my friend too," Ellen replied calmly. Poor Lianna, she thought.
Michael took another swig. Ellen tried to weave through the barrage of mental abuse he was throwing at him. Ellen fought down the tide of mind screaming he was focusing on her. "Used me!" his mind was screaming. "The bitch used me!"
"I no more used you than you did me!" she blurted, knowing it was a mistake. She had given up something she had not intended. It was silent for just a moment. The hair on the back of her neck raised. This was the calm before the storm, she thought. She knew she had made a mistake.
"You're a telepath," he said stunned. He shook his head, though perfectly calm his words were harsh and angry. "You lying two faced bitch! You're a telepath! You use me, lie to me, and now I find out you're a backstabbing telepath!"
His words stung more than any slap in the face, and Ellen didn't need to read his mind to tell her what he thought of her. It was better to have him raving, Ellen realized, than to hear his thoughts so well formed.
She stopped her quivering lip by clenching her jaw once more. She wasn't going to cry for any man! She grit her teeth and looked straight into Garibaldi's eyes. "You are nothing but a pathetic drunken bastard. Why don't you just give up then, that's what you're thinking isn't it? Give up and let everyone down who thought so much of you, Frank. Lianna!" She diplomatically deleted herself from the list of people who had looked up to him.
Garibaldi's expression went dangerously blank. He leapt up and pounded his fist into the wall with such violence and speed that Ellen jumped.
She heard the bones in his knuckle crack, and suspected that he had just broken his hand. Being as drunk as he was, he hadn't realized it yet.
More than pain, she feared was spuing from him, it was the anger, the overwhelming anger.
"Spoiled rich man's daughter, that's all you are. Daddy bought your pass out of Psi Corps?" Garibaldi growled. "Get the hell out of my life."
"You don't know what you're saying," Ellen said trying to regain some control over the situation. "You're stinking drunk."
"I know exactly what I'm saying," he said. Ellen sensed he was right, he was perfectly focused on this one thought. "Get out."
This was a side of Garibaldi she had hoped never to see. Ellen tried unsuccessfully to swallow the dry lump in her throat. "I thought you were better than this." She picked up a bottle and let it clang on the counter in front of Garibaldi. "I guess I was wrong."
"Get out!" Garibaldi said in voice so disturbingly similar to the quiet before the pounce of a predator that Ellen, who had been trained in every combat technique known to EarthGov, shook in her knee hi boots.
"I can help you Michael," she said desperately holding on to the one thing that she knew he still felt, his sense of justice. "We could clear your name, find Franks killer."
"I don't want the help of any mind f***er," he said.
She flinched like she had been hit. It was a cold hard fact of nature that being drunk does not change the person, only inhibits their restraint. She understood that he was not saying things he didn't mean, and that pained her beyond any torture. "Michael-"
"I don't need your help," he interrupted through gritted teeth. His anger was such that even her calming telepathy was unable to contain it. "I don't need anyone."
That was the last time she saw him. She had looked him up once (not a difficult task for an EGIA agent) on a lonely Valentines Day. This time she caught him sober, but he tactfully told her that he was "involved" with someone. She wished him well, and the conversation quickly died.
That was the last time she talked to him, but she thought of him constantly.
"Will you take this mission?" X asked again looking her in the eye.
Going on this mission, she knew she would see him. Hell, she was directed to gather information on him specifically. EarthGov, and EGIA in particular, wanted to know whose side he was really on.
"Yes," she said crawling from her pile of regrets. Here was the perfect excuse she had been looking for. She had a mission. She finally had a reason to look him up that didn't involve emotions.
"You're meeting with who?" Garibaldi asked John Sheridan once more.
"Ellen Hatch," John replied.
"Elli," Garibaldi said in a far away voice.
"Do you know her?" Sheridan asked.
"I used to," Garibaldi said quickly.
Sheridan observed Garibaldi's uneasy answer, and his nervous glance.
"I'd like to know any information you have about her. It isn't' easy to get a heads up on an EGIA agent."
Garibaldi pressed his lips together as his mind began to form a careful sentence. "She was on Europa when I worked for the ice miners. She was investigating their dealings with the Mars Mafia. She was a good undercover agent. I never even suspected her until I intercepted a message from the EGIA she received telling her to rap up her case and bring it in."
"You "intercepted" a message from the EGIA?" Sheridan asked dubiously.
"I know you're good Michael, but those are coded messages only EGIA can translate. What aren't you telling me?
Garibaldi sighed. "She and I were..." he trailed off for a moment trying to find the right word, "close."
Sheridan nodded his head in understanding.
"She had left her notepad next to the.." he trailed off again. "Bed," he continued difficulty. "It only had a few words scribbled on it, but it was enough for me to put it all together." Garibaldi looked seriously at Sheridan.
"She offered to help me," Garibaldi told his former commander, "I was an ass...I turned her down. We didn't exactly part on the best of terms."
"So, you know her pretty well?" John asked.
"I used to. A lot can happen in ten years, you know."
"I need any information you think could be of use to me. Do you think you can help me?" Sheridan asked.
"Yeah," Garibaldi replied rather solemnly. "I can."
Ellen walked off the transport. She looked around the unfamiliar surroundings, taking it all in like any EIA agent, automatically processing the visual information into a mental dossier. She thought it was a little strange that there was no one in the New Alliance garb to meet her. In the reception area stood a solitary Minbari. Ellen looked carefully at the Minbari for the briefest of moments and took stock of him then and there. He wore the Ranger pin that most of the Alliance Staff. He looked familiar, and she searched her memory to recall his face.
She walked up to him. "Mr. Lennier?" she asked.
"Yes," he replied. "I'm here to-"
This was part where Ellen expected to hear her host's mind practically shouting "yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah." It could be quite distracting, but this Minbari was incredibly focused (as most Minbari were). There was not a hint of the dry interest she usually experienced at these sorts of greetings.
"President Sheridan relays his greetings," Lennier said. "He asked me to give you a tour of our facility, and then I will show you to your room."
It was just pleasantries, she knew. "This is unnecessary you realize?" she informed of the Minbari. "I've already been briefed on your entire complex. I could probably even find the nearest bathroom."
"Yes," the Minbari said. "But these were my orders, and I would appreciate the opportunity to carry them out."
"Certainly," Ellen replied.
The first part of the meeting passed with the typical leasantries, and
Ellen was very relieved to find that Sheridan's mind was quite focused as well. There were a few obvious thoughts, such as "I wonder what the EIA wants with us that they can't find for themselves."
"So, Ms. Hatch," Sheridan said sitting on his seat looking quite comfortable, "why did the Earth Intelligence Agency send you here?"
"I'll come right to the point," she said almost literally quoting his surface thoughts, "The EGIA has received information that you are in possession of several unregistered telepaths."
"We have granted them sanctuary," he said his mind focused.
"Please Sheridan, I am an Operative. I work for the EGIA. I'm not a diplomat. We know all about the Shadow Weapons Components. We even leaked that information to the Psi Corps agent Mr. Bester the little creep."
"I see you've met him," Sheridan said with the faintest trace of a smile only a telepath could see.
"Once too often. In fact, it is about him and the Corps that the EIA is *concerned* about."
*Now she *is* being diplomatic* Sheridan thought. *Get ready for the *point*.
"We have uncovered evidence that the Psi Corps is involved in genetic experiments. Perhaps involving enhancing latent telepathic abilities. We have reason to believe that the blips that you "intercepted" from the shadows were privy to some of this information. We think that may even be the reason they were given up to the shadows. But we need *more* information."
Sheridan was as focused on reading Ms. Hatch's emotions as she was his.
He had that ever so slightly narrowed eye look.
"Why not infiltrate the Corps? Can't the EIA do that?"
"Some of the blips you retrieved may be EIA agents, President Sheridan. President Clark was a disaster to the EIA. He cut our funds, arrested many of the operatives, including myself. We are still recovering from that, but we don't have the luxury of time." Ms. Hatch sighed ever so slightly and John thought *Here it comes*. Ellen continued; "We have reason to believe that the Corps is planning a government coup. If you take a look at the number of active loyal Corps agents there are compared to EIA agents, your blood would run cold Mr. President.
"In exchange for this "information" the EGIA is prepared to share information with you on whatever you need. Even put an EGIA agent at your disposal for training, information gathering, even going Operative."
"There is more than you are telling me," Sheridan said astutely.
"Of course there is President Sheridan. "I know more than I am telling you, and you know more than you are telling me."
"You could scan it out of me," Sheridan said. He watched her flinch.
"Yes, I know you are a telepath. So why come here to me? Why not just take what you want?"
Damnit Michael! she thought. There was no other way for them to get that information, short of a scan. And a scan she would have felt."We don't work that way Mr. President. The EGIA does occasionally bend the rules, maybe even breaking them once or twice, but we are not so idiotic as to beat down a door without knocking first."
"Polite espionage?" Sheridan inquired. "Is this a new EGIA policy? Last I heard your agency was pulling people from their homes for "inteensive" questioning."
"That was President Clarks EGIA Mr. President. I assure you, all of those elements that could be removed, have been. Let's call our new policy practical, shall we? Why risk an operative's life and risk offending a potential ally. We need all the help protecting Earth we can get, Sir. It's as simple as that."
"So, if I refuse, you'll simply scan the information out of me?" Sheridan inquired.
"I don't think that would be wise considering that you have a telepath monitoring me," she replied. "Besides, there is more than one way to "scan" a cat."
Sheridan smiled again, ever so slightly. *I like this woman* he thought.
"I will have to discuss this with my staff," he said.
"Of course. But I want to remind you that this situation with the Corps could lead to a civil war. Your rangers promised to help us work toward peace. You promised to be the even hand in a conflict."
"Do what you think you have to Sheridan. But we are quickly running out of time."